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Rio Olympics 2016: Shamed US swimmer Gunnar Bentz turns on Ryan Lochte over gas station fracas

By Regina F. Graham

Video courtesy of Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3743679/Ryan-Lochte-seen-rushing-Olympic-village-new-security-footage-just-robbed-gunpoint-5am-nightclub-party.html

One of the US swimmers caught up in a web of lies with Ryan Lochte has turned against him revealing that Lochte pulled a sign off the wall and started yelling at security guards.

Gunnar Bentz wrote a groveling apology on Friday for his role in the incident at a Rio de Janeiro gas station that saw him, along with fellow Team USA swimmers, Lochte, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feign all branded liars, the Daily Mail reported.

Lochte lied and said he and the three others were robbed after a late night of partying. But Brazilian police said on Thursday that no robbery happened and that the group vandalized a bathroom at a gas station.

Bentz, a 20-year-old college student, returned back to native city of Atlanta, Georgia, and released a statement explaining his side of the controversial situation.

"I want to offer a sincere apology to the United States Olympic Committee, USA Swimming, the extraordinary women and men of Team USA, and the University of Georgia," Bentz said.

"Being a member of the Olympic Swimming Team was an honor and a dream come true.

"The accomplishments of my teammates were awe-inspiring and I'm so pleased I got to see them up close."

He then goes on to say that he "regrets" that the situation has "drawn attention away from the Olympics".

Bentz added that Brazil and its citizens hosted the Games "so incredibly well".

In an effort to put this behind him so that he can rejoin his University of Georgia teammates in "classes, practices and competition", he felt the need to share several points about the situation concerning Lochte.

US swimmer Ryan Lochte. Photo / Getty Images
US swimmer Ryan Lochte. Photo / Getty Images

Bentz, who noted that the account of what happened is exactly what he told Brazilian authorities, said that he was out with Conger, Feigen and Lochte with several swimmers from different nations, before they left to head back to the Olympic Village around 6am on Sunday.

"On the way back to the Olympic Village, we pulled into a convenience store to use the restroom," Bentz said in the statement.

"There was no restroom inside, so we foolishly relieved ourselves on the backside of the building behind some bushes.

"There was a locked door out back and I did not witness anyone breaking it open.

'" am unsure why, but while we were in that area, Ryan pulled to the ground a framed metal advertisement that was loosely anchored to the brick wall."

Bentz said that he is the one in the group who suggested that they should leave the area and get back into the taxi.

"Two men, whom I believe to have been security guards, then instructed us to exit the vehicle," Bentz said.

"No guns were drawn during this exchange, but we did see a gun tucked into one of the guard's waistband.

"As Jimmy and Jack were walking away from the vehicle, the first security guard held up a badge to me and drew his handgun. I yelled to them to come back toward us and they complied."

Bentz said that the second guard drew his weapons and that both of the guards then pointed their guns at the swimmers as they told them to sit on a nearby sidewalk.

"Again, I cannot speak to his actions, but Ryan stood up and began to yell at the guards," Bentz said.

"After Jack and I both tugged at him in an attempt to get him to sit back down, Ryan and the security guards had a heated verbal exchange, but no physical contact was made."

Bentz explained that a man who he thought to be a customer approached and offered to help them translate, as he spoke both Portuguese and English.

"Through the interpreter, one of the guards said that we needed to pay them in order to leave," Bentz said.

"I gave them what I had in my wallet, which was a $20 bill, and Jimmy gave them 100 Reals, which is about $50 in total."

Bentz said the men lowered their guns as they were allowed to leave and walked a block away to get a taxi to return to the Olympic village.

"Videos of this situation have been emerging the last several days," Bentz said.

US swimmer Ryan Lochte. Photo / Getty Images
US swimmer Ryan Lochte. Photo / Getty Images

"However, I am confident that some video angles have not been shown that would further substantiate my account. I also believe some scenes have been skipped over."

He said he wanted to "stress" that the "original taxi was not pulled over," and that only the four of them along with the driver were the only people inside the cab.

"And to my knowledge, there was no damage done to the door or the inside of the restroom," Bentz said.

In the beginning of his statement, he noted that he was not a suspect in the case from the "beginning" and that he "never made a false statement to anyone at any time".

"I am so thankful for the love and support of my family, my friends and my teammates during this time," Bentz said in closing the statement.

"Without question, I am taking away a valuable life lesson from this situation. In everything I do, I am representing my family, my country and my school. I will not take that responsibility lightly."

On Friday morning, Lochte apologized for making up the story about being robbed at gunpoint in Brazil during the Olympic Games.

The swimmer said in an Instagram statement that he was sorry for "not being more careful and candid" in his account of what happened at a gas station at 6am on Sunday morning.

He claimed it was "traumatic" to have a gun pointed at him but offered no apology for public urination or destroying the gas station's bathroom.

FULL STATEMENT FROM U.S. SWIMMER GUNNAR BENTZ

"I want to offer a sincere apology to the United States Olympic Committee, USA Swimming, the extraordinary women and men of Team USA, and the University of Georgia. Being a member of the Olympic Swimming Team was an honor and a dream come true. The accomplishments of my teammates were awe-inspiring and I'm so pleased I got to see them up close. I regret this situation has drawn attention away from the Olympics, which have been hosted so incredibly well by Brazil and its citizens.

"While I am anxious to put this matter behind me and rejoin my Georgia teammates in classes, practices and competitions, I feel compelled to stress several key points.

1. I was never a suspect in the case from the beginning (Brazilian law enforcement officials saw me only as a witness).

2. I never made a false statement to anyone at any time.

"I also want to be forthright about the details of what transpired last Sunday. What follows is consistent with the account I gave to the Brazilian authorities when I was interviewed for the first and only time on Thursday in Rio de Janeiro:

"After attending an event with several swimmers from different nations, I left in a taxicab along with U.S. swimmers Jack Conger, Jimmy Feigen and Ryan Lochte around 6 a.m. On the way back to the Olympic Village, we pulled into a convenience store to use the restroom. There was no restroom inside, so we foolishly relieved ourselves on the backside of the building behind some bushes. There was a locked door out back and I did not witness anyone breaking it open. I am unsure why, but while we were in that area, Ryan pulled to the ground a framed metal advertisement that was loosely anchored to the brick wall. I then suggested to everyone that we needed to leave the area and we returned to the taxi.

"Two men, whom I believe to have been security guards, then instructed us to exit the vehicle. No guns were drawn during this exchange, but we did see a gun tucked into one of the guard's waistband. As Jimmy and Jack were walking away from the vehicle, the first security guard held up a badge to me and drew his handgun. I yelled to them to come back toward us and they complied. Then the second guard drew his weapon and both guards pointed their guns at us and yelled at us to sit on a nearby sidewalk.

"Again, I cannot speak to his actions, but Ryan stood up and began to yell at the guards. After Jack and I both tugged at him in an attempt to get him to sit back down, Ryan and the security guards had a heated verbal exchange, but no physical contact was made.

"A man that I believe to be a customer approached us and offered to help as he spoke both English and Portuguese. Understandably, we were frightened and confused during this time. Through the interpreter, one of the guards said that we needed to pay them in order to leave. I gave them what I had in my wallet, which was a $20 bill, and Jimmy gave them 100 Reals, which is about $50 in total. They lowered the guns and I used hand gestures to ask if it was okay to leave and they said yes. We walked about a block down the street and hailed another taxi to return to the Village.

"Videos of this situation have been emerging the last several days. However, I am confident that some video angles have not been shown that would further substantiate my account. I also believe some scenes have been skipped over. Additionally, I would like to stress that our original taxi was not pulled over; the only occupants of the taxi were the four of us and the driver; and to my knowledge, there was no damage done to the door or the inside of the restroom.

"I am so thankful for the love and support of my family, my friends and my teammates during this time. Without question, I am taking away a valuable life lesson from this situation. In everything I do, I am representing my family, my country and my school. I will not take that responsibility lightly."

- Daily Mail

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